Listen to Your Body
Lately I've been having a rough time with my digestive tract. Yes, I am just as strict about my gluten-free diet as ever - but there's a lot going on, plenty of stress right now, and things aren't working smoothly. You know what it's like - regular trips to the bathroom, bloating, loud gurgling noises - not exactly me at my best! It's happened before, and I know it will pass, but that doesn't make it any easier.
These are my tips for surviving an episode like this one. They won't take away your symptoms, but they will give you confidence that you can make it through and come out the other end.
Eat what your body wants
Sometimes my body wants spaghetti (right now it's Barilla's GF) for breakfast. Sometimes it wants a rice cake, or an apple. Whatever it is, I try to listen. I trust my body to know what's right for right now, even if other people think it's strange. Eggs for dinner? Stir-fried veggies for breakfast? Whatever it takes!
Don't let someone else's expectation of what you should eat stop you from listening to your body about what you need to eat.
Keep it simple
When my body is struggling to stay on balance even on a gluten-free diet, I try to give it simpler foods to process. Eating out, even in 'safe' restaurants, stops. So do big meals and anything rich or fatty (unless my stomach calls out for ice cream, which it does from time to time).
Why make your body work harder than it already has to? Be gentle with yourself and keep the food simple. This also helps reduce the chance of accidental glutening.
Minimize the medicines
Right now I am packing up a house, which means lots of boxes to add more stress. I also have a bad back, so that means pain - and pain means pain relievers, like aspirin or acetaminophen. I check that the ones I take are gluten free, but I also recognize that they can upset my stomach all by themselves. So I take the minimum I need, and try always to take them on a full stomach. Which is tough when I am up at 4AM feeling panicky about getting all the packing done in time!
The less you challenge your GI tract, the faster it will recover, at least in my experience.
Take your bathroom breaks
It can be embarrassing to tell strangers like handymen or real estate agents "sorry, excuse me for a moment" several times an hour. But I do it anyway. If my body wants something OUT, who am I to argue? Off I go to the little room...they may think I'm weird, but I know that I am doing what is best for me.
If your body sends you an unmistakeable signal...pay attention!
If you're struggling with your body's response to stress right now, take heart. Listen to your body and you will get through this. These symptoms will end. You will feel in control again - and it will be time to celebrate with a treat! How about some delicious, super-reliable brownies?